SALS - Studies of Reading Comprehension in Sweden

Research project
Inactive research
Project period
2002 - 2006
Project owner
The Department of Education and Special Education, University of Gothenburg

The Swedish Research Council

Short description

The aim is to deepen knowledge about the readiness of children and young people in Sweden.

About the project

On an international level, Sweden has previously stated itself well in terms of reading, but a deeper study shows at the same time that the differences between the country and between pupils are large. It is also possible that changes in readiness have occurred in the 1990s. The school has changed in terms of school forms, school resources, student composition and so on, which makes it extra important to investigate differences in reading skills between schools, school types, classes and subgroups of students. It is also important to further explore the possible causes of these differences, reasons that may exist in the students' home background or in the organization of the school and the use of resources.

SALS is based on analyzes of existing data. Through participation in four international studies of pupils' reading literacy, Sweden has access to comprehensive data on both readability of different types and contextual factors. All studies are based on national representative selection for each group. The databases contain, in addition to reading test data, answers to eleven kits, teacher's kits, school kits and in PIRLS also answers to parental surveys. The data will mainly be analyzed using multivariate analytics techniques. These offer opportunities to analyze the entire system of variables. Analysis of reading comprehension's relation to various background factors such as socioeconomic background can be combined with gender or ethnic background data and the relative importance of different influences can be measured as well as their interaction effects.

Five subprojects

The work in SALS will be conducted within 5 subprojects, which have many contact points with each other and will be conducted in close cooperation.

Subproject 1

Is intended to describe the development of readiness in Swedish schools for thirty years. Two factors that have been shown to be important in current international research will be given special attention in the analyzes - class size and teacher skills. Pupil's readiness will be put in relation to the resource changes that have taken place especially during the 90's. Furthermore, changes in results for different groups will be investigated with particular focus on gender and social background.

Subproject 2

Focuses on the importance of teaching and school for reading skills. The main purpose of this study is to study the ways in which teachers 'skills and different teaching activities are of importance to students' readiness. Education, experience and the range of teaching methods will be analyzed with regard to student results.

Subproject 3

Focuses on the importance of home and leisure for reading skills. Social background has proven to be the most determining factor in readiness. In international research, it has also been shown that this influence increases with the number of years in school. If this relationship is true in Sweden, it is not yet fully understood, nor the specific factors that are the most influential when it comes to parents' involvement and participation in school.

Subproject 4

Aims at analyzing the importance of the independent language for the development of readiness. The effect of the independent schools will be studied in two ways, partly by examining the effect of the school's independent education on the results of the municipal schools and partly by a more thorough comparison of the schools with independent schools and municipalities with regard to conditions, education and results.

Subproject 5

Refers to the low-performing readers and its main focus is to identify different groups of low-performing students, the background factors of pupils, homes and schools that interact with reading difficulties and, finally, the consequences of reading difficulties for learning in other areas and for the pupils' self-image.


SALS is conducted in collaboration between researchers at the Department of Education at the University of Gothenburg and researchers at Kalmar University. The survey results as a whole will be valuable for teacher education in the country as well as in targeted education efforts. The growth of knowledge that can be followed can also be translated into practice, especially in school teaching. The results regarding parenting and the home's influence on reading ability can also form the basis for parenting and development of interaction between home and school in the field of reading.

Research environment

Prerequisites, Education and Results - FUR